I decided to make this a franchise, because that is what games are best at. So there.

I was washing the dishes and was thinking about my previous post and the possibility of a blog where readers posted design challenges and I turned out half thought out game ideas every day. The idea scared me as I’m just not that creative, however I wondered if when I applied myself I could think of ideas that do not come to me naturally over the course of time.  So I though about a game based on the tedium of washing dishes.

So the game opens with the player washing dishes at some restaurant and they’re forced to complete some fairly tedious mini-game where they mouse over all the areas on a dish which aren’t enjoyable. I’m imagining graphics which are akin to Cooking Mama or some other piece of gratuitous friendliness.  So the player has to wash these dishes for a day, then it awarded some money depending on their performance.  Throughout the day the player can listen to GTA style radio, with the traditional music or talk back stations.  Then when the next day comes about, the player is introduced to a stereotype of a nice and attractive girl, who’s also going to be washing dishes. Throughout the day the dishes game is interrupted with short dialogue scenes between the protagonist (not player) and this girl, who clearly have some sort of chemistry.  So after the day is over the background changes to some park where the protagonist and lady friend have gone together. The interplay between the two is flirtatious, funny and endearing without any concerns. The player should ideally be enjoying these sequences, at least in comparison to the dull job of washing dishes.

Did you know that "Washing Dishes" in Google Image search auto completes to "Washing Dishes Cartoon"?

The next day passes in much the same manner until the player washes some weird goblet. One or two plates after the goblet a waiter comes in and asks who cleaned the goblet, to which the player responds. He is then brought out to the restaurant, where the owner of the restaurant is amazed at how clean his special goblet is.  He then, unsurprisingly, bequeaths his restaurant to the player.  The game now transforms into a management sim of sorts as the player balances the money spent on the restaurant with customer satisfaction and profit etc.  However the player can now choose to spend time out of his management day and his profit on time with love interest, receiving an enjoyable date scene like the one before. At the start this is liberating, as the player is not only able to spend more time with the lady but also is free of the awful dish washing mini-game. However it soon becomes apparent that the player has to sacrifice his enjoyment (the date scenes) if he wants to succeed at the game’s stated objectives (building a restaurant chain).  If the player chooses to go against the games stated objective of building the restaurant chain then his relationship will flourish, while if he prioritises the chain then he’ll be able to take the girl out to increasingly expensive places but spend less time with her, which is what she ultimately values.  The dichotomy will obviously never be explained directly to the player and they must pick up on the trend themselves.  If they follow the business goals for too long then the relationship eventually breaks down. If the player patriotism the girl then perhaps the game ends with him having to sell off the restaurants and returning to the menial job of washing dishes, but married or something like that to convey romantic success.

That’s my attempt to use game mechanics to naturalistically teach, inspired by the tedium of washing the dishes.